Re-Route Masters: Payday 2’s Dynamic Maps

What promise of gaming’s future has failed to materialise for you? What was the most exciting feature that’s only been half thought out, or tried once and then abandoned? For me, it’s multiplayer shooters levels with dynamic elements. Left 4 Dead 2 was supposed to feel like you were crawling over different routes depending on the difficulty selection, but what it amounted to was the player being squeezed a few steps in one direction or another. Will Payday 2 be the first game to successfully pull it off? I have the beta, but I’ve not had enough time with it to find out. However, the new trailer claims your decisions will affect one playthrough to the next, perhaps even selecting a different map for to play on. If that happens, I’ll be one fun lovin’ criminal.

What I have noticed, in my very brief time with the beta, was one same level having different loot drops and guard selections on the second run. The first time we played it, we were spotted a pair of guards in an alleyway who caught us popping our masks on behind a wall. We restarted and planned an elaborate double-takedown of those gumshoe wannabes, but they weren’t in the same position. They were inside the jewelry store, mocking our crappy attempt at ‘planning’. I have to say, it’s kind of neat. I hope it’s the sort of thing that can keep Overkill’s online shooter interesting. They seem to think so.

The game goes live on August 13th.


  1. KDR_11k says:

    Yeah, Payday 1 did a lot of randomization for its maps to make them less predictable.

  2. gou says:

    cops by the hotdog stand? ok everyone die and reload the map

    • DarkFenix says:

      Or have the guy with the silenced pistol ready to kill them before they can call for help.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Cops are actually surprisingly easy to deal with, as they don’t have pagers they need answering, so as long as you can kill them quickly enough, all is fine and dandy to keeping things quiet.

  3. grundus says:

    I bought Payday 2 on Monday night after having finally gotten started with Payday last week only to find that a) it’s awesome and b) it’s pretty much dead. So far I’m really liking what they’ve done with Payday 2, there are a couple of things I’m not so enthusiastic about but on the whole it seems like they’ve got big plans for it.

  4. airtekh says:

    I’m still on the fence about Payday 2. I thought the first game was ok, but wasn’t impressive enough for me to look forward to a sequel.

    Stuff like this does make me more interested though.

    • grundus says:

      I’ve only played a single mission so far but the gameplay is almost unchanged from the first game in that you can scope out the area, start the heist, press F to do stuff, keep civilians under control while the stuff you pressed F to do does what it’s doing (i.e. drills get drilling, then predictably jam so you have to go and press F again), the police launch assaults on you so you fight back, then when you’ve completed the objective you leave. The rest is much more RPG-like in that you have skill trees with a limited number of skill points to spend in them, you buy weapons and mod them (sights, magazines, silencers, loudeners (yes, loudeners), etc.) which affects their stats, you can select your armour to give a balance between protection and visibility… All that sort of deal. It’s an improvement over the first game in some respects but a step back in others, depending on what sort of game you want to play I guess.

      • Tiax says:

        What you’re not mentionning is that it’s now possible to do all (well, mostly) the missions in a stealthy way, without the cops being called.

        It’s funny for a game where you would genocide half the state’s police force, but basically you can ghost a mission and end it with zero kills.

        That’s a big, big plus for me.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          So far I’ve managed to rob Jewelry Store twice and Four Stores once without having a shootout. The second time for Jewelry Store was just lucky. Walked right in, silenced the guards and told everyone to hit the ground. Managed to suppress everyone and get all the loot out, even the safe, without any cops showing up on Overkill difficulty.

          So, yeah, there’s still the horde-mode of cops, but 3 out of the current 5 missions in the beta are certainly possible to do without a shootout, as long as you have the right skills and everything pans out.

      • notlimahc says:

        If your crew invest in the right skills (shaped charge and lockpicking expert), there’s much less waiting than in the first game. Jewelry Store can be done with no waiting quite easily, while in Four Stores and Nightclub you only really need to wait for the escape vehicle to show up.

    • hemmingjay says:

      I disagree with the other gentleman. The game is a vast improvement in every respect. I have 40+ hours with the beta and the only thing that is the same as the first game is the concept. Everything else is a massive improvement. There are some bugs, but they seem to be addressing them. The two most annoying issues right now are some problems with sound channels(voice levels dropping during the game for no reason, etc) and the fact that the host doesn’t migrate if the host crashes or quits.

    • grundus says:

      As I said, I’ve only played the first mission. Maybe two hours played and most of that has been dicking about in the options and forgetting I had the game running because my phone alt-tabbed out of the game when it woke up after being plugged in to charge, so these other testimonials above are (exciting, good) news to me.

  5. Metalfish says:

    RPS, if you could get a line to these guys and ask them why they’ve gone for one of the stupidest mission select screens in gaming, that’d be grand.

    Otherwise great game though.

  6. Guvornator says:

    Speaking of multiplayer shooters with dynamic elementsm did anyone see this? link to

  7. pupsikaso says:

    Is that a mask of invisibility? As soon as he put it on, the cop couldn’t see him until he literally bumped into the cop’s crotch?

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah i noticed that too. If that’s how poor the AI is…

      • Ringwraith says:

        It’s based on your ‘visibility’ rating. The more bulky stuff you are carrying, the quicker they spot you. If you have a rifle drawn and are walking around in a tin can of armour they will spot you as soon as you enter their line of sight, whereas someone in a suit with small weapons can stroll by quickly without attracting more than a slight suspicious look.

      • Muffalopadus says:

        The stealth system is a bit odd. It works like a temperature gauge. Someone spots you, the longer they see you the more the detection meter fills up. Multiple people increase it faster, and a more noticeable loadout (i.e. full riot armor, a tricked out rifle with a SMG backup vs a more stealthy plain suit, rifle with collapsible stock, and a snub nosed revolver) will greatly increase the rate in which it goes up.

        Honestly, its weird but it works in game. If you actually get too close to a guard, even without your mask on, they instantly detect you, handcuff you, and alert the police. So thats something.

  8. TJ says:

    I’ve got the beta, was a fan of the first game, but I’m thoroughly disappointed that, as grundus said, the core combat is essentially unchanged, and it was the one thing that needed to be improved. Further impressions are here: link to

  9. Gap Gen says:

    Man, Garrus has fallen on hard times if he’s forced to work with the gangs he so despises.

  10. Lunarpac says:

    I’ve played the beta quite a lot, and I have to say that the effects of the randomized elements are pretty overestimated. It doesn’t really matter which end of the bank the vault ends up in, for example. The approach is pretty much the same regardless. Most things don’t affect your team’s overall strategy. There are some things though which can make things a lot harder, but there are few such things.

    So far, I think:

    Pros: Gunplay is great, the classes are somewhat diverging (although some are needed more than others), customization-system is really great (if you enjoy hunting/grinding for rares and such), decent server-/lobbysystem.

    Cons: Stupid enemy (and friendly) AI, missions can be approached with the same strategy successfully 9/10 times, picking up bags through walls (I know it’s beta, but what the heck, release in 6 days and this is still in there?), current missions in general are way too repetitive (beta is beta, expecting more stages to come out), unplayable solo with AI.

    All in all, I think it’s a good game with some potential, but there are some stuff that need to be tweaked/fixed before/soon after release.

    • Boffin says:

      The random elements are a pretty big deal on some maps but are pretty meaningless on others (like the first meth mission). The biggest upside so far is that it generally stops there being the one optimal plan every time. Although, I could probably write an essay on how it changes up the jewelery heist. Having the alley fenced off, or the office windows blocked by a bin changes how the entire map plays. And the positioning of the escape van can make the difference between only just getting out with the bare minimum, or completely cleaning the place out. It’s probably not a revolutionary feature, but it is neat as hell.

      The police might as well be the same but I think the friendly AI is a bit better than the first one, at the very least they’re better at fighting cops. I’d still love a simple command system for them, maybe even get them to carry bags =O

      I’m pretty hopeful with them tweaking it into a better game at this point. They’ve changed pretty drastically (and for the better) two or three times since the beta started. Assuming they keep that up we should end up with a pretty cool game.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Grabbing stuff through the wall is somewhat a feature however, seeing as it was in the first game as well and there seems to be no intentions to change it.
      You will thankful when you can be revived through a wall though (it’s just you can’t revive people too far above/below you).

  11. Hel Sarie says:

    @Gap Gen: At least the drill should be calibrated properly for once.

    Anyway, as I recall from the very early previews, even L4D1 had blocks’ worth of dynamic reroutes (with the Director drawing an estimated future Survivor path for the Infected in Versus, so they could plan ambushes), but they ended up scrapping it, as well as adding the ally silhouettes visible through walls to make it less complicated.

    Can’t really complain about casualising games this time, the end product being the small revolution it was, but true adaptive environments is something I’m still looking forward to.

  12. MachineCode says:

    Any chance we’ll get 3D positional voip?

    Any chance we’ll be able to move hostages from the location we zip tie them?

    Any chance we will get a difficulty mode that changes relative Health vs Damage so we fight fewer but tougher and more dangerous cops?

    Any chance we will get a less gamey and immersion breaking stealth system?

    Well ok I know the answer to all of these is “almost certainly no. ever” its just these are my probably my greatest desires for this game. Hopefully it should still be fun with a few friends though. Worried about there being only 5 missions though.

  13. GameDreamer says:

    So far there isn’t any mod support, hence to spice things up the missions do have dynamic changes, i dunno, i enjoy doing stuff over and over in payday, it’s different every time really.

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